Gathering places

With all due credit to the 1931 song, immortalized eleven years later in the film Casablanca, Johnsburg Historical Society has embarked on a local history series entitled As Time Goes By. The series will revisit some of the popular 1970s articles written by the late William R. Waddell for the North Creek News-Enterprise under the heading As It Used To Be. Inspired by Glenn Pearsalls book, Echoes in These Mountains, JHS researchers will concentrate on buildings past and present in the Town of Johnsburg for this series. A JHS exhibit at Tannery Pond Community Center in September 2009 will feature structures which have defined our hometown through the years as time goes by. In his July 18, 1974 column Waddell observed the universal popularity of gathering places throughout time. He noted the early 20th century hangouts of Braley and Noxons front porch and the tailor shop belonging to the well-liked Tassi brothers, Silvester and Louis. When the weather turned cold, the men gathered around the register inside the hardware store. And where were the ladies? Gathered next door at Cora Montgomerys hat shop, which today is the south side section of Braley and Noxon Hardware. Front porches were a typical gathering place for both men and women in the first half of the previous century. Rocking chairs, precious snippets of leisure time and a brief warm season brought neighbors together on front porches. Johnsburg native Jeanne Robert Foster, one of Americas leading poets, described such scenes in her acclaimed work of narrative prose, Neighbors of Yesterday. A recent visitor to the area lamented that it was a sad day in our history when the front porch disappeared from American architecture. Todays gathering places seem to center around food and drink. Johnsburg residents naturally are attracted to gather at familiar spots such as those on North Creeks Main Street: Cafe Sarah for its sweet indulgences, the North Creek Deli and Marketplace, Marshas Restaurant and the Snow Train for home-style cooking, Bar Vino for its sophistication, Lauras for fun, the always busy Capri Pizza, and the nearby Ski Bowl Cafe for comfort and informality. Because social interaction is a basic human need, firehouses, churches, community centers, post offices, the school, the library and Town Hall are gathering places today as they were in William Wadells time. As Time Goes By is a column provided by the the Johnsburg Historical Society. It will appear monthly.

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